Tax break would help micro-distillers in northern Michigan

May 27, 2015

Credit Traverse City Whiskey Company

Small distillers in northern Michigan would get a big tax break under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last week by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI).

He visited Traverse City Whiskey Company on Tuesday to promote the legislation, which would lower the federal excise tax on liquor from $13.50 per gallon to $2.70.

“This allows entrepreneurs to start [in] this business, get it going and create these jobs in our local communities," Peters said.

The tax break would only count for the first 100,000 gallons produced by a distiller each year. Peters explained the bill would have little effect on federal revenue, as most liquor in the United States is produced by major distillers.

Michigan has around 40 distilleries operating right now, including Traverse City Whiskey Company and Grand Traverse Distillery.

Peters says the bill could promote tourism in northern Michigan by giving small distilleries in places like northern Michigan a chance.

“The barriers to entry [into the business] are very high," Peters said. "The still is very expensive, getting the barrels, the work environment, the employees. So this is a helping hand for that to occur.”